THREE STATIONS, by Martin Cruz Smith

6?/series. The latest gritty Arkady Renko novel - the series started with Gorky Park - by this accomplished author shows a writer at the absolute top of his game. This is today's billionaires' Moscow, where armor-plated Hummers roar and gangs of starving orphans maraud, Tajik drug dealers shoot any threat, and only billionaires can attend the extravagant Nijinski Fair. A runaway prostitute's newborn baby is kidnapped. Renko's sometimes-ward, Zhenya, befriends the girl. Why should Renko care? Moscow is chock full of people like this. But he does. While his supervisor (the perfect weasel) arranges for him to be fired, Renko's on the trail of a serial killer. Smith's spare prose is enthralling, his plotting superb, his attention to the unexpected detail almost supernatural, and his creation, the never-give-up Renko, is my kind of guy. A 5+.